Why AFL star whose wife has cancer was axed

There’s little room for emotion when it comes to selection at finals time and Port coach Ken Hinkley has revealed why he axed Jeremy Finlayson.

AFL: Power forward Jeremy Finlayson has been dropped for Port Adelaide’s semi-final clash against the Giants at the Adelaide Oval.

The return of key forward Charlie Dickson was also key in squeezing out Finlayson, who has played 21 games and kicked 38 goals this season but none in the past two games.

Finlayson, whose wife Kellie was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer just months after finishing her treatment for bowel cancer, has kicked just six goals in his last seven games and was squeezed out for the Adelaide Oval showdown the Giants.

“We got Charlie back and unfortunately the numbers were probably against (Finlayson) a little bit,” Hinkley said on Friday.

“But Charlie coming back was significant.”

In a TV interview on Thursday, Finlayson called Kellie an inspiration but said the past month in particular had been hard.

“It’s been a rocky road, it’s been a long 18 months,” he said on Channel 7.

“It’s kind of taken its toll, I won’t lie about that. Lately, the past three or four weeks, it’s taken its toll and it shows in footy.”

Jeremy Finlayson and his daughter runs out for his 100th game in Round 17. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Dixon is returning from a broken foot, having not played since round 20, and Hinkley said he wouldn’t have picked him if he wasn’t able to deliver what’s needed in a final.

Hinkley said defender Trent McKenzie had “wonderful recovery powers” after overcoming a rolled ankle in last week’s loss to the Brisbane Lions to take his place against GWS.

Amid questioning about the future of former captain Travis Boak and the trio of players from other clubs who have asked to be traded to Port, Hinkley made it clear he was focused on nothing but the clash with the Giants.

He said Port must be doing “something OK” for Geelong‘s Esava Ratugolea, Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Jordon Sweet from the Western Bulldogs to want to to get to his club.

But his focus was “doing something better” to beat GWS.

“It‘s not my job this week to be focusing on it,” Hinkley said.

“My job is to really focus on a performance from the football side to try and get a win.

“(List manager) Jason (Cripps) and his team are really strong on managing our list profile, and if that means people want to come and play for us, we’re doing something OK.

“But tomorrow we need to do something better than OK.”

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